Automated Airport Screening Lanes Debut in Chicago

American Airlines will roll out the quicker security alternative in Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami and New York next year By: Mindy Poder
Automated TSA screening might be coming to an airport near you. // © 2016 iStock
Automated TSA screening might be coming to an airport near you. // © 2016 iStock

The Details

American Airlines

Chicago O’Hare’s Terminal 3 now features two automated security screening lanes. Funded by American Airlines in collaboration with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Chicago Department of Aviation, the new lanes aim to decrease the time travelers spend in screening by about 30 percent. Innovations aim to automate many of the functions currently carried out by TSA staff. Next year, American Airlines and TSA plan to deploy automated lanes in Dallas/Forth Worth, Los Angeles, Miami and New York (John F. Kennedy Airport).

Why It Matters:
Have clients who dream of traveling but can’t stomach the idea of waiting in another security line? They’re not alone. Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago, admitted that wait times at TSA checkpoints reached up to 104 minutes this year. What makes matters worse for agents is that such experiences typically occur at the beginning and end of a trip, tainting a traveler’s perception of his or her vacation. Any attempts by TSA and airlines to hasten the security process while ensuring traveler safety will contribute to a better travel experience for all.

Fast Facts:
- The automated lanes will feature innovations such as automated belts that draw bags into the X-ray machines, returning the bins back to queue after completion of the screening.

- Bags with a potential threat can be directed to a separate area to allow bins behind it to continue through the system uninterrupted.

- Property bins are 25 percent larger than the bins in regular screening lanes.

- Unique Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags are attached to each bin to allow for additional accountability of items as they transit throughout the system.

- The automated lanes feature cameras that capture photos of the outside of the bag, which is linked to the X-ray image of the bag’s contents.

- In early 2017, American Airlines and TSA will begin a pilot of computed tomography (CT) scanners in Phoenix, Ariz. CT technology could make it possible for travelers to leave liquids in their carry-on bags.

What They Are Saying:
“We are very appreciative of the ongoing collaboration between TSA and our partners at American Airlines,” said Peter Neffenger, TSA administrator. “Working together in our efforts to deploy effective, state-of-the-art technologies such as these automated lanes in O’Hare’s Terminal 3 furthers TSA’s ability to fulfill its security mission while also enhancing the travel experience.”

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